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Valmont ([personal profile] whitehairedprettyboy) wrote2014-09-22 10:15 am
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Name: Valmont
Series: Jackie Chan Adventures
Timeline: Post-season 2
Canon Resource Links:


Picture a man on top of the world. The underworld, anyway. This is Valmont at the start of Jackie Chan Adventures. As the leader of the Dark Hand, an international crime syndicate, he is very powerful and disgustingly rich, although this doesn't stop him from trying to become even more so. You see, Valmont loves money. And it's no exaggeration to say this love for money drives everything he does. Why? Well, while it's never explicitly stated in canon, we do see him as a kid dressing just as well and participating in American foreign exchange programs, so it's pretty safe to assume he came from money. The man's clearly been used to living in luxury from a young age, and he wants to keep it that way.

This fanciness can be seen in everything from the way he dresses (immaculate green suits) to the way he talks (the posh Received Pronunciation tones of Julian Sands) to the jewel-encrusted cane he carries with him at all times. His office is a very nice room on the top floor of a very nice building. On heists, he goes big. We're talking Fort Knox level, and yes, he actually did rob Fort Knox once. The guy wants the best of everything. And it's this greed that causes him to join forces with a demon named Shendu in order to obtain untold treasure, which, in turn, leads to every plot arc in the entire show. Nice going.

Obviously, Valmont cares a lot about how he appears, and therefore he tries to give off the appearance of absolute class in everything he does. However, there are all kinds of less-classy things lurking beneath that polished veneer. Foremost is his temper. He's impatient, probably because he's never actually had to wait for anything in his life, and he has a short temper that flares up when things aren't going his way. This can be set off by the incompetence of his subordinates or the frustration caused by one Jackie Chan, archaeologist. The most blatant example is the episode "Bullies", where his anger at Shendu combined with a particularly destructive talisman causes a whole lot of damage. His temper can even trump his intelligence: in the same episode, it comes to a head when Jackie goads him into such a rage that he accidentally destroys a raft on which he, and all the gold he has just stolen, happens to be at the time. Again: nice going.

(As a side note, that episode is also one of the few times we actually see Valmont enjoying himself. It's probably the combination of money and destructive power. This says a lot about his pastimes.)

Valmont is also just, in general, not a very nice guy. He routinely berates his employees for their incompetence, and he is never shown to care about their well-being. Indeed, it's often quite the opposite. When he orders his servant Tohru to fight Shendu, a demon easily twice his size (and Tohru's already huge) and powered by magic, it's unlikely he has any expectation that Tohru will make it out alive. It's also unlikely that this much matters to him. In point of fact, it's never once shown that Valmont actually cares about anyone other than himself.

The man does have some positive qualities, hidden though they may be. For one thing, he's determined. When Shendu regains full power, double-crosses Valmont and denies him the treasure - well, many people in that situation might have given up for fear of becoming dragon chow. Not Valmont. He follows Shendu all the way to Hong Kong in order to get back what is wrongfully his. Despite losing not only the treasure in the end, but also a good chunk of his resources and his headquarters (which results in the Dark Hand relocating their base of operations to a fish cannery), Valmont remains as arrogant and greedy as ever, and just as determined to get back to the top.

It might even have worked, too, if Shendu hadn't returned, resulting in Valmont losing something else: control of his own body, when the demon accidentally possesses him. This is, as one might expect, a hardship, and one that takes its toll on Valmont mentally. He is essentially reduced to an errand boy as Shendu commandeers not only his body but also the entire Dark Hand for his own purposes, using up the rest of its resources and generally humiliating Valmont in the process. (Witness: the dress, which Shendu insists is a sorcerer's robe.*)

Somewhere along the line, Valmont becomes more focused on resisting Shendu than on anything else. Eventually, he does two surprising things in quick succession. First, he risks possible injury to his own body just to knock Shendu out for a few hours. Second, he gains a willingness to work with his other mortal enemies, the Chans, for the (his) greater good. This is a more desperate Valmont - one whose ultimate goal is still for his own benefit, but who is at least willing to swallow his pride to get there. Later, when Shendu is finally exorcised, Valmont ignores pride altogether and does a frankly embarrassing victory dance. What a loser.

So here we have Valmont at the point I'm taking him from - mostly penniless, temporarily employeeless, and living out of a fish cannery. The later seasons are even less kind to him, so it's probably a good thing he's ending up in Johto when he is. At least with his Pokémon, he'll have two employees instead of none. Things are already looking up.

*It's a dress.

+ He's a natural leader. You don't get to be the sole man in charge of an international criminal enterprise without a little bit of talent.
+ He's skilled in martial arts. The man's gone toe-to-toe with Jackie Chan and held his own. (Fictional Jackie Chan, but still.)
+ He's determined. The man will stop at nothing to get what he wants (generally some form of money).
+ He's crazy prepared. As an example, he has an electronic false tooth that he can use to summon his cane, just in case he ever needs to. Oh, and the cane has a laser sword inside it. As canes do.
+ He's classy when he tries to be.
+ He has fabulous hair.

+/- He's selfish. Valmont gives absolutely zero cares about anything that doesn't affect him personally. While this may be a weakness interpersonally, it's definitely a strength as far as his own well-being is concerned.

- He's vain. Witness his utter horror when Shendu dares to mess with his painstakingly chosen wardrobe. ("You wouldn't dare!") He's also got a hell of an ego. ("As the head of an international crime syndicate, I refuse to expose myself by robbing a common bank!")
- He's not a very nice person. Being a crime boss will do that to you. While he has the ability to put on a charming face (Tohru's mother refers to him as "nice Mr. Valmont"), one gets the sense that it will slip if he tries to be nice for too long.
- He has a short temper and is easily provoked.
- He can be short-sighted. At least once, his greed for more wealth causes him to lose the talisman he already had his hands on.
- He can't do much without his subordinates. They're the ones who get their hands dirty; Valmont is mostly content to sit back and watch. However, when they start messing up too badly, we come to the next point.
- He's impatient, which can cause him to act impulsively, often to his detriment. In the most prominent instance, his inability to sit still while his henchmen screwed up ended up getting him demonically possessed. Nice freaking going.

Pokémon Information
Affiliation: Rocket
Starter: Snivy (lv 15) and Stunky (lv 5)
Password: Spring Rolls

First Person Sample:

Excuse me!

[ A man with a long white ponytail and an immaculately tailored (though unusually green) suit graces your PokéGear screen this morning. He appears rather put out, for some reason. ]

I demand to know who is in charge here! I ask that you kindly return me to where I came from! I'm a very busy man, and I don't appreciate being... kidnapped, or whatever it is you've done to me!

[ He pauses, takes a breath, and smoothes down the front of his suit. ]

Whoever you are, it is in your best interest to release me before my employees get here. [ His lip curls. ] And if you were going to go so far as to provide me with clothes, you might at least have made them a bit more fashionable. How you expected me to wear those rags...

[ Having said his piece, he reaches for the Gear, presumably to turn it off, when a long green snout comes abruptly into view, sniffing inquisitively. His Snivy's curious about the lighty box, it seems. ]

Ah, yes - and if someone could elucidate me as to what exactly these... creatures are, it would be most appreciated. At least this one seems to have good sense, for the most part - stop smelling that!

[ The Snivy straightens up, trying to look dignified. This is the sort of Snivy who would never think of sticking his face all over a PokéGear. What would make you think that? ]

[ The man, for his part, turns back to the camera. ] If you can provide me with some answers as to what's going on in this place, I will see to it that you are handsomely rewarded. The sooner, the better.

[ And the feed shuts off. ]

Third Person Sample:

This was humiliating.

He, Valmont, the leader of the Dark Hand, which had once been one of the most feared crime syndicates in the world - reduced to handing out flyers for a bloody casino.

He tugged the regulation Team Rocket cap down farther in front of his eyes. They weren't supposed to advertise the Game Corner's Rocket connection, but a plain black cap, though tacky, was hardly identifying, and the risk was worth it. If anyone recognized him...!

Not that there was anyone he knew in this godforsaken place. On the one hand, that meant no Chan, and no Shendu, and he could not tell you how grateful he was to have those two out of his hair. On the other hand, he had to admit (privately) that he was a bit lost without the Enforcers. If they were here, perhaps he might have a shot at taking over this organization... Then again, considering their general incompetence, he would probably have had just as little success in that endeavor as he was having currently in distributing these flyers.

He heaved a sigh. "Goldenrod Game Corner," he intoned flatly. "Come to the Goldenrod Game Corner." The flyer dangled limply from his hand.

His Stunky - as the purple skunk he had received was apparently called - rubbed up against his leg. If this was intended to make him feel better, it had the opposite effect. His face twisted in disgust. That was another reason for him to resent Team Rocket. They had seen fit to give him a skunk for a companion! Him! Valmont! Saddled with a disgusting, smelly... come to think of it, maybe that was part of what was keeping the potential customers away. The stench certainly wasn't attracting any.

At least his other Pokémon - the snake known as a Snivy - seemed sensible enough. If nothing else, he was green, which was a point in his favor. Another point was the disdainful way he was staring at the Stunky from beside Valmont's other leg. Oh, yes. Valmont suspected he and this Snivy would get along. But that was small comfort beside the fact that he was still being forced to hand out these flyers for a casino he knew nothing about, by an organization he cared nothing about, with a blasted skunk deciding it would like nothing better at the moment than to make sweet love to his leg.

"Goldenrod Game Corner." Someday he would find whoever was in charge of this organization. And then he would make them pay.

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